To meet growing demand of millions of retiring baby boomers expected to transition their privately held businesses to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is expanding its national ESOP advisory practice eastward. The bank announced today that Cecilia Loftus has joined its growing team as senior vice president and eastern regional director. She is based in Philadelphia. This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161121005949/en/
Cecilia Loftus joins Wells Fargo to head ESOP practice in the east. (Photo: Business Wire)
Approximately 70 million baby boomers privately own more than two-thirds of all businesses with employees. With an estimated $10 trillion in family-owned businesses expected to change hands by 2025, the tax-advantaged employee benefit plans have become an attractive choice for owners preparing for retirement. "This is an exciting time to be involved in the ESOP community," said Kim Abello, head of Wells Fargo's national ESOP advisory group. "Cecilia's extensive background and leadership experience will immediately contribute to the support of our 400-plus ESOP customers nationwide, and those business owners considering an ESOP as a possible exit strategy." In her new role, Loftus will apply specialized ESOP knowledge in employee benefits, transaction structuring, and credit analysis to help 44 regional Middle Marketing Banking offices in Eastern and Midwestern states serve the growing need for ownership transfer. In recent years, retiring baby boomer business owners have driven steady adoption of ESOPs. In 1975, just one year after ESOPs were created as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, there were approximately 1,500 ESOPs that covered about 250,000 employees, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO). Today, approximately 7,000 ESOPs include 13.5 million U.S. workers, the center reports. Wells Fargo currently serves five of the top 10 companies on NCEO's list of America's 100 largest majority employee-owned companies. Loftus joins a team of regional ESOP specialists who partner with Wells Fargo Middle Market Banking to provide guidance on lending to companies that are considering an ESOP's specialized needs and tax benefits. This industry-leading partnership provides expertise in many areas, including initial ESOP stock purchases, second-stage transaction financing, refinancing of seller notes, mergers and acquisitions, repurchase obligation funding, and expansion of business operations for ESOP companies. Loftus earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and an MBA from La Salle University in Philadelphia. She serves as a Pennsylvania/Delaware ESOP Association chapter officer and is an active member of the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership and the National Center of Employee Ownership. About Wells Fargo Middle Market Banking Wells Fargo is No. 1 in total middle market banking share in the U.S. and has the most lead banking relationships with middle market companies with $25 million to $500 million in annual sales.* With 140-plus offices in 38 states and four Canadian provinces, Wells Fargo Middle Market Commercial Banking provides local service and decision-making for businesses with $20 million and higher in annual sales. Asset-based lending, traditional secured loans, and capital markets provide access to working capital for day-to-day operations and growth. Expertise and services are available to specialty industries, including food and agribusiness, healthcare, government, higher education, clean technology, and environmental services. Watch stories about successful middle market companies at http://wholesalebanking.wf.com/cmbg-success-stories. About Wells Fargo Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune's 2016 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.